Legend Of The Dogwood Tree
Two thousand years ago, few trees in the Middle East were big enough to construct anything. However, one tree
was valued above the others for its thick trunk and fine, strong wood.
When the Romans came to rule over Jerusalem, their government used this same timber to build the crosses for
executing criminals. A group of workers were assigned to gather wood for the crosses. Before long, every Roman official knew
the best wood came from these gatherers of execution wood, so those workers became popular.
Once day, the wood gatherers received a special request. An officer of the Roman court came and said, The
King of Jews is to be put to death. Deliver an extra-large cross made from your finest wood. So, a fresh tree was cut from
the forest of the trees with thick trunks and fine, strong wood. An extra-tall (and extra-heavy) cross was quickly made and
delivered. Three days after the death of Jesus of Nazareth, the chief wood gatherer got alarming news. All of our finest trees
are withering! the messenger whispered. The wood gatherer hurried to the forest and saw that it was true. Several years later,
the chief wood gatherer heard that, every spring, many people visited the old forest that had once made his job so easy. Despite
his advancing years, he set out to discover why. He saw the remains of forest, now like salty bottoms, with only a few trees
still standing tall, bare, lifeless and rotting.
But what was this? As he drew closer, his feeble eyes could make out the people walking among thousands of
beautiful, flowering bushes. Seeing one of his own workers there, the old man said, No one could ever make a cross out of
this twisted wood. Our finest tree has gone to the dogs! He noticed the beautiful white flowers, each blossom looking as if
it had been burned from the touch of a miniature cross. As the story of the dogwood tree was told to Ben Baston by his grandmother,
There Is A Legend
At the time of Crucifixion the dogwood had been the size of the oak and other forest trees. So firm and strong
was the tree that it was chosen as the timber for the cross. To be used thus for such a cruel purpose greatly distressed the
tree, and Jesus nailed upon it, sensed this:
Because of your regret and pity for My suffering, never again shall the dogwood tree grow large enough to
be used as a cross. Henforth it shall be slender and bent and twisted and its blossoms shall be in the form of a cross--two
long and two short petals. And in the center of the outer edge of each petal there will be nail prints, brown with rust and
stained with red, and in the center of the flower will be a crown of thorns, and all who see it will remember.
The pink dogwood I said to be blushing for shame because of the cruel purpose, which it served in the Crucifixion.
The weeping dogwood further symbolized the sorrow. The red dogwood, called the Cherokee, bears the color to remind us of the
blood shed by our Savior.